Humility, a quality that all the devotees, striving for spiritual advancement, are eager to imbibe in themselves, and even though it appears to be a quality present within many, it actually evades the majority. The importance of Humility is paramount for making progress on the path of Krishna consciousness and has been stressed on in the 3rd verse of Sri Shikshatakam:
trinad api sunichena
taror api sahishnuna
kirtaniyah sada harih
One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.
In the purport to one of the verses in the Bhagawat Gita, Srila Prabhupad has given a beautiful explanation of the true meaning of humility. True humility is the absence of false ego, which makes one think in terms of I and mine in relation to this material body and the things, relations, titles and so forth, which are attached to this material body, made up of the gross and subtle elements. When a devotee no longer maintains the false ego of being in a particular Varna such as a Brahman or kshatriya or so forth, does not think of the relations pertaining to the body as the parents, wife, children and so forth to be relations pertaining to the true self, does not think himself to be rich, poor, Indian, American, European, and does not relate to any other sort of designation pertaining to the material body, but is rather established in the real Ego of being an eternal servant of the lotus feet of Vrajendranandan Shyamsundar, then one can be understood to be truly humble. The Ego, the perception of I and mine, is inherently present in all the living entities, for even after liberation one does not loose one’s individuality, as has been clearly and repeatedly explained in the Bhagwat Gita, and therefore the Ego is eternal. However, due to being covered by the moods of material nature, the soul starts identifying himself with the body and forgets the real Ego as the servant of the Lord. The realisation of the real ego and giving up of the false ego, is what brings about true humility, for one no longer attempts to Lord it over the material nature and therefore there is no requirement of proving oneself to be superior to others and attempting to gain the respect of others, but rather knowing one and all to be the eternal servants of the Lord, the devotee well situated in the position of his real identity, shall be forever loving and affectionate towards all the other living entities and shall be a storehouse of the true quality of humility. After being thus situated, one can easily engage the mind in the chanting of the holy names of the Lord, as instructed by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.